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3G And The Fate of Mobile Advertising in India
3G And The Fate of Mobile Advertising in India
By: iMedia News Bureau


3G is touted as the next communication revolution in India. With high speed internet available on mobile phones, the most ubiquitous and personal of all devices, 3G holds the potential to not just change the way people communicate with each other, but also the mobile advertising scene in India.

The way it stands today, mobile advertising in India is still in its dark ages, which tele callers pestering mobile users with irritating advertising calls. This has gone on to such an extent that the government had to step in to put a halt to it. However, with 3G, the need for these ancient forms of using mobile phones for advertising, are passé.

India today has achieved 70% teledensity, up from 5% in 2001. This is slated to rise to 85% in 2012. This has been made possible by the exponential growth of mobile phones in the country. Today the number of people using mobile phones in India stands at over 700 million. For millions of Indians thus, the screen that they see the most on any given day is their mobile phone screens. Thus the mobile screen has the potential to become much more effective than TV, computer or even outdoor display ads. But, without the technology to drive it, that would have remained a potential. With 3G giving the ability to stream real time ads, video clips, and even interactive content and ads, this changes.

Yet, in India, there is the need for serious efforts to harness the power of mobile advertising and realize its full sales and marketing potential. Today in India, mobile advertising is still in a nascent stage with the current size being just around Rs. 100 crores. This is paltry compared to the global numbers which stands at $3.3bn this year riding on the quick adoption of smart phones and tablets, up from from $1.6 bn in 2010.

This revenue is expected to grow exponentially to reach a whooping $20.6 bn by 2015 according to a report by Gartner, Inc with India’s share being very small at just over Rs. 200 crores in the same time.

However the strongest growth potential for mobile advertising would also come from India and China, two of world’s most populous countries, and also ones with the largest concentration of mobile phones. And though the expected figures are small compared to world standards, early adoption by brands, riding on what all it is possible to achieve through 3G, could actually make this estimation seem way below the mark.

However, while doing this what the brands need to remember is that according to global estimations, the mobile advertising that are expected to deliver the highest revenue, are those attached to search and maps. What is also important is to remember when one considers mobile advertising, is that targeted and contextualized advertising that actually services a customer, is what will work instead of either the untargeted mass advertising of other media, or even the intrusive and spam telecallings.

Thus with the mobile advertising, even the ad agencies are expected to see growth, as they would have to open separate divisions to look into mobile advertising, currently being done on an ad hoc basis by many companies. It is expected to become a specialty soon. And making an inroad into the advertising world would be tech people, coders and program writers would be needed for creating different services and programs for 3G enabled phones e.g. making an application that allows a user to take a pool, mobile coupons, sweepstakes etc. 

3G thus heralds a new era, not just for the mobile companies, but for the advertising industry, brands and marketing professionals as well as the customer. It smacks of a huge potential, but the companies that will move fast, are the ones that will own a bigger piece of the entire mobile advertising cake.